FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health


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Super Fortified : “Foods” or Supplements?

Should You Get your Nutrients from Super-fortified Foods?

The label on the orange juice container says “calcium added”. The water bottle label says “fortified with vitamin C”; the energy drink s is “fortified with 23 added vitamins and minerals.” Do you need all these extra nutrients ?

These foods may actually act like dietary supplements. If you eat nutritious unprocessed whole foods, you probably do not need fortified foods and even may go over the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL).

The UL is a set of values that are well above the needs of everyone in the population and represents the highest amount of the nutrient that will not cause toxicity symptoms in the majority of healthy people. As intake rises above the UL so does the risk of adverse health effects.

To establish a UL, a specific adverse effect is considered. For example, for niacin, the ill effect is flushing, and for vitamin D it is calcium deposits in soft tissue or kidney damage. For vitamin C it is digestive disturbances. For some nutrients, these values represent intake from supplements alone; for some, intake from supplements and fortified foods, and for others, total intake from foods, fortified food, water and nonfood sources and supplements. For some nutrients, data are insufficient to establish a UL.

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“In traditional foods, the amounts of nutrients are small and the way they are combined limits absorption, making the risk of consuming a toxic amount of a nutrient almost nonexistent. On the other hand, this risk rises from eating an excess of a supplement or excessive servings of super-fortified foods.”

Young children may be particularly at risk for toxicity. “A new report says that “millions of children are ingesting potentially unhealthy amounts” of vitamin A, zinc and niacin, with fortified breakfast cereals the leading source of the excessive intake because all three nutrients are added in amounts calculated for adults.”

“Outdated nutritional labeling rules and misleading marketing by food manufacturers who use high fortification levels to make their products appear more nutritious fuel this potential risk, according to the report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington, D.C.-based health research and advocacy organization.”

For example, if you drank the recommended two to three liters of fluids as water fortified with vitamin C, niacin, vitamin E and vitamins B6 and B12, you would exceed the UL for these vitamins. Then add two cups of fortified breakfast cereal and two protein bars during the day, your risk of toxicity increases even more. In many of these products, you also could be getting a not so healthy dose of sugar. Should we be consuming super-fortified foods without a thought? I think not. For a previous post, click HERE.

Source: Lori A. Smolin, Mary B. Grosvenor, Nutrition: Science and Applications. Third Edition.

Source:  USA Today, Michele Healy, June 24, 2014.

 

 

 


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Is Gluten-Free Merely a Fad?

Gluten

Going gluten-free is becoming more mainstream.  There appears to be more people avoiding gluten without having a celiac disease diagnosis. Gluten-free is appearing on restaurant menus and on food labels in supermarket products. Why is this occurring? The following article addresses this issue and gives us the facts.

CLICK HERE.


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The Low Processed Food Diet?

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When one looks at the diets of the world, we find that some stand out as part of a healthy lifestyle more than others.  Although these are simply observations of populations or cultures with a history of longevity and low rates of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancers, there are lessons to be learned.  There is merit in looking at these traditional ways of eating that often get lost in the mire of diet advice.  However, they seem  to have one common characteristic – there is hardly any that includes the consumption of highly processed foods.  I know, all foods are processed to an extent, but what we’re talking about here is what they should be called- ultra-processed foods defined as: “Formulations of several ingredients which, besides salt, sugar, oils, and fats, include food substances not used in culinary preparations, in particular, flavors, colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers and other additives used to imitate sensorial qualities of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product.” More than half of all the calories consumed in the Standard American Diet (SAD) is provided by these foods.

So the bottom line for heath:  To borrow  from Michael Pollan’s famous advice: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”, we can just simply say: “Eat real food, not too much, mostly unprocessed or minimally processed.

CLICK HERE.


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The Sensible Approach to Healthy Diets?

farmersmarketsign_tnAre you tired of being told to eat a plant-based diet? Do you find that conversion to a vegan diet impossible?  Did your doctor suggest you follow a healthy diet? Think about trying the approach of becoming a Flexitarian.  It can put you in control of your diet and at the same time start to incorporate a sensible approach to dietary health and still enjoy a moderate amount of meat, poultry, or fish without guilt.

CLICK HERE